As Republicans take aim at Democrats and the Biden administration for including “human infrastructure” and the “care economy” in the American Jobs Plan – President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal – some, such as Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) are inadvertently highlighting popular provisions.
Blackburn on Wednesday tweeted “President Biden’s proposal is anything but infrastructure,” along with a graphic citing an administration fact sheet that reads “$400 billion towards elder care.”
Blackburn has been a champion of the GOP’s semantic objections to Biden’s proposal, even proposing an alternative to the plan last week specifically focused on roads and bridges, particularly in rural areas.
But the administration has largely disregarded semantics-focused criticism, with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg stating during an MSNBC interview on Wednesday, “If it’s good policy, vote for it and call it whatever you like.”
Critics on social media pointed out that Blackburn was highlighting a particularly uncontroversial portion of the bill that addresses a dire policy concern, with the Democratic National Committee even tweeting the same graphic Blackburn used.
“You can see the problem with the message ‘this bill is awful because it dedicates $400 billion to elder care,’” tweeted progressive pollster Sean McElwee, taking aim at the GOP’s “commitment to [turning] an infrastructure fight into a fight about Medicaid.”
61%. That’s the share of likely voters who support investment in the care economy as part of the American Jobs Plan, according to a poll released Tuesday by McElwee’s firm, Data for Progress. A Politico/Morning Consult poll released earlier this week put support for including $400 billion in elder care in the plan at 76%, including 64% of Republicans and 63% of Trump voters.
“Two hundred years ago, trains weren’t ‘traditional’ infrastructure either until America made a choice to lay down tracks across the country,” Biden said during a speech on Wednesday, arguing that “the idea of infrastructure has always evolved to meet the aspirations of the American people and their needs.”
What To Watch For
Blackburn’s opposition to Biden’s plan will likely be a moot point, given that the Senate parliamentarian has given the green light to Democrats to use budget reconciliation on at least two more bills this year. That means Democrats can bypass the 10 Republicans needed to break a filibuster, and it is possible they will use it on separate infrastructure packages. Where Biden may run into trouble is with moderate Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who says at least a half dozen Senate Democrats oppose Biden’s corporate tax hike.